Rafael Nadal beats Karen Khachanov, will face Dominic Thiem in Monte Carlo quarter-finals [PHOTOS]

Ten-time champion Rafael Nadal has booked his place in the quarter-finals of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

Our champ beat Russian Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 19 minutes. With today’s triumph, he has improved to 65-4 lifetime in Monaco, and 393-35 on clay.

Khachanov held his own at times in the opening set, but Rafa moved through the gears and claimed his second comfortable victory of the week after his opening win over Aljaz Bedene.

After the match, Rafa said:

A good victory. Straight sets against a difficult opponent. That’s the real thing.

I think I played little bit better than yesterday [against Aljaz Bedene]. My serve worked well and my forehand was better than yesterday. (via ATP World Tour)

Rafa, who is chasing a record 31st ATP Masters 1000 title, will next face Austrian Dominic Theim, who knocked out 2013 and 2015 champion Novak Djokovic, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3 in two hours and 29 minutes.


PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal beats Aljaz Bedene to reach third round at Monte Carlo Masters

(AFP) – Ten-time champion Rafael Nadal improved to 64-4 at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Wednesday when he reached the third round with victory over Aljaz Bedene.

Our champ won 6-1, 6-3 in 78 minutes and will next prepare to meet Karen Khachanov on Thursday.

Rafa brought up set point in the opener with a trademark, curling forehand up the line, before sealing the set with a drop shot. Bedene managed to keep the second set on serve for six games, but Rafa broke to lead 4-3 and wrapped up a comfortable victory in the Monaco sunshine with another break as Bedene hit a forehand into the net.

After the match, Rafa said:

It was a positive start. That’s all. It’s important for me to win matches, of course. I need days on court. Since Shanghai last year, I have spent not enough time on court competing. Every match that I have the chance to win is a great news, because it [helps my] confidence and is a chance to play another day. That’s what I need. (via ATP World Tour)

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal gets his own suite at Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel

Today was the official inauguration of the Rafa Nadal Suite in Monaco. The Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort wanted to honour our champ for his amazing career and especially these 10 victories at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Here are a few photos from today’s opening.

According to ATPWorldTour.com, the 92m² suite includes memorabilia from Rafa’s career, including a tennis racquet, shirt, shoes and photos of his 10 titles at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, venue of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.

Rafa was joined in opening Suite 1029 at the official hotel by Elisabeth-Ann de Massy, President of the Tournament Committee, Mélanie-Antoinette de Massy, Jean-Luc Biamonti, Deputy President of the Societe des Bains de Mer, Zeljko Franulovic, Tournament Director of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, and his girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello.

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal’s Monday Practice In Monte Carlo

Here you go folks, pics from Rafa’s Monday practice in Monaco. Vamos Rafa!

Rafael Nadal feeling positive ahead of clay court season

(AFP) – Rafael Nadal said on Sunday that he is fit and ready to defend his Monte Carlo Masters title and the number-one ranking this week, as he returns to the ATP Tour after injury.

“I feel that I’m playing well. I had some good days of practice here, playing some good sets,” Rafa said ahead of the start of the claycourt season.

“That helps me. I love this event. I always feel comfortable here.

“I’m enjoying being here in Monte Carlo in an event that always brings me to the best feelings possible.

“It’s hopefully going to be my first event of the year that I can finish. And I’m excited about that.”

The 16-time Grand Slam champion is bidding for an incredible 11th title in Monaco and his third in a row, but knows that anything less than that would see him lose the number-one spot to the absent Federer.

Rafa had been due to return at Acapulco in February, but was forced to withdraw before his opening match and admitted that it was tough to miss the American hardcourt season.

“I knew when I was going to be ready. The problem is that it takes time.

“Australia was a tough moment, of course, being in that quarter-final, winning the match and having that problem, having a good chance.

“But I took the right time to have the right rest. I did all the things that the doctors told me. Then I felt great practising in Acapulco, playing very well, but then just the day before… I felt it again. So that’s the real thing.

“For me mentally the second one was even harder than what happened in Australia, even if Australia was a Grand Slam and was an opportunity lost.

“The second one was frustrating because I did all the things the right way.”

Ahead of a possible string of physically demanding claycourt matches, Nadal admitted another injury setback is always a possibility.

“Well it happened twice so you never know,” he said.

“Being honest, I am not practising thinking about if that comes back or not.

“I had injuries in my life, as you know, more than what I expected, but the good thing is that when I came back I was not afraid about what was going on.”

Source: AFP

Davis Cup: Rafael Nadal is the best cheerleader for Spain

The doubles match earlier today between Feliciano Lopez , Marc Lopez, Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff was four hours and 40 minutes of every type of emotion.

Spain lost, but it was amazing to see Rafael Nadal as the ultimate teammate and cheerleader!

Davis Cup: Rafael Nadal levels for Spain after Alexander Zverev victory

Rafael Nadal leveled Spain’s World Group quarterfinal match against Germany in Valencia with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

The world one extended his dominance over Kohlschreiber to 15 wins in 16 matches to keep Spain’s hopes very much alive.

After the match, Rafa said:

It’s positive of course, winning in straight sets, it was a solid match. I feel comfortable back on the clay.

It’s always special to play at home at a Bullring Stadium, it’s very unique.

It’s a great feeling to be back, coming back from injuries is always difficult, but it’s great to be in front of my crowd on a very memorable day. I’m very happy with the match.

Rafa hasn’t lost a Davis Cup singles rubber since defeat on debut in the competition to Jiri Novak in Spain’s 3-2 victory over Czech Republic in the 2004 World Group first round.

Alexander Zverev had earlier beaten David Ferrer 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in Friday’s opening singles match.

The best-of-five tie will continue with the doubles on Saturday followed by the reverse singles on Sunday.